India Wikileaks cable is ‘authentic’ – Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has said the Indian PM is wrong to have doubted the authenticity of a document which has caused an uproar in India. The diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks suggested that India’s ruling Congress party bribed MPs to survive a crucial vote of confidence in 2008. Mr Assange said Manmohan’s Singh’s comments “seem like a deliberate attempt to mislead the public”. Mr Singh denied the allegations set out in the cable.

He questioned the veracity of the leak, which has put him under renewed pressure after a string of corruption scandals. The vote took place after the government’s left-wing allies withdrew their support over a controversial nuclear deal with the United States.

But the Congress party narrowly survived the vote despite substantial opposition. The leaked cable, reported in The Hindu newspaper, caused uproar in the Indian parliament with the main opposition parties calling on the prime minister to resign.

Mr Singh responded that no member of his Congress party or government bribed MPs ahead of the vote and cast doubt on the veracity of the cable.

“It is unfortunate that speculative, unverified and unverifiable communication can be given dignity by the opposition to revive old charges that have been soundly rejected,” Mr Singh said. Responding to the criticism, Mr Assange told NDTV news channel that Mr Singh’s statements “seem like a deliberate attempt to mislead the public by suggesting that governments around the world do not accept the material and it is not verified”. “There is no doubt that these are bona fide reports sent by an American ambassador back to Washington, and these should be seen in that context,” Mr Assange said.

“That does not mean every fact in them is correct. You have to look at their sources and how they gave this information.” If the government had lost the vote, India could have faced early elections. A defeat would have also put the nuclear deal in doubt. – BBC